Return to Transcripts main page

NEW DAY SATURDAY

R. Kelly Turns Himself In To Police Over Sex Abuse Charges; Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Accused Of Soliciting Sex; Border Clash Over Humanitarian Aid Leaves Two Dead, 17 Injured; Top Catholic Cardinal: Potential Proof Of Abuse Destroyed; Democrats Vote Tuesday To Block Trump's Executive Order; Children Confront Senator Dianne Feinstein Over Green New Deal; Interview with Rep. Chris Pappas (D- NH); Venezuelan National Guard Fire Tear Gas At Workers; Tennessee Lawmaker Accused Of Abuse Is Re-Elected; Putin Warns U.S. About Possible Missile Crisis. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired February 23, 2019 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he won that case.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Patriots Owner Robert Kraft accused of soliciting prostitution.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's proclaimed his innocence totally, and but I'm very surprised to see it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The government is supposed to be for the people, by the people and all for the people --

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: You know what's interesting about this group is I've been doing this for 30 years. I know what I'm doing. You come in here, and you say it has to be my way or the highway. I don't respond to that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It could be tens of thousands of people on both sides of the border trying to get this aid across. But concerns, obviously, aside, this could be yet a more volatile situation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Good to be with you this Saturday morning. Our top stories, we still don't know if Paul Manafort will spend the rest of his life in prison. The public is waiting to read Special Counsel Robert Mueller's sentencing memo against the former Trump campaign chairman. Mueller faced a midnight deadline to turn this case over to a federal judge.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Also, a New England Patriots Owner, Robert Kraft, facing charges of soliciting prostitution. Police say, Kraft was caught in part of a large-scale sex crackdown, leading to hundreds of arrest warrants. BLACKWELL: And R&B singer, R. Kelly is due in court today. Kelly

turned himself into police last night after being indicted on ten counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

PAUL: Now, we want to start with the latest breaking developments in the arrest R&N superstar, R. Kelly there. Overnight, Chicago police released this new mugshot of the singer.

BLACKWELL: Kelly is 51. He's accused of committing sexual acts on three children, older than 13, but younger than 17. The indictment list crimes against four victims in all. Last night, Kelly's attorney vehemently denied the accusations calling his accusers lairs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you think these women are lying?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

SIDNER: All of them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think all of the women are lying, yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: CNN's Nick Watt joins us now. Nick, R. Kelly, he's in jail. There's a bond hearing later today, but prosecutors want him to stay in jail. Tell us about what's happening and what's next.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, Victor, at lunchtime here in Chicago, R. Kelly will be in court for that bond hearing. And we will find out if he is going to stay behind bars, or if they are going to let him out. Now, last night, you just saw a little clip of that scene last night. It was pretty extraordinary even, R. Kelly's lawyer had tweeted that R. Kelly was going to hand himself into a police station way on the side of Chicago late at night.

Of course, we then saw him coming out of a studio earlier in the evening -- and that was my colleague there, Sara Sidner, asking him that question: "Do you think these women are lying," and he said yes. The lawyer also went on to say that he believes that state prosecutors have, sort of, succumbed to public pressure. Succumbed to the likes of Michael Avenatti, who we saw out giving a press conference here in Chicago yesterday as well. He, of course, provided state prosecutors with a video that he says shows R. Kelly having illegal sex with a 14- year-old girl.

On that video, Avenatti says R. Kelly actually moves the camera himself. And ten times, he says, the age of that girl is referred to that she was 14 years old. And in that video, Avenatti claims that R. Kelly has this young woman refer to him as daddy. Now, one of the, I think, most poignant comments that I've heard about this is from Dream Hampton, the woman who is the executive producer of that "Surviving R. Kelly" documentary, which has led to some of this public pressure. She said that R. Kelly's predation has been an open secret for almost two decades, it's time for him to finally pay for the harm he's caused, the black girls' lives that he has ruined. Back to you, guys.

PAUL: All right, Nick Watt, thank you so much. We appreciate it. And we'll continue to watch today to see what comes out of this bond hearing.

BLACKWELL: Absolutely, now the docuseries "Surviving R. Kelly" reignited the public's interest and the accusations against the singer. Last hour, Christi and I, we spoke with the executive producer and one of Kelly's alleged victims, Lisa van Allen, says she is not surprised that the grand jury indicted Kelly. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LISA VAN ALLEN, R. KELLY'S ALLEGED VICTIM: I'm really not surprised. I guess I am surprised at how quickly Cook County knew and acted on what the evidence they had. So, I commend them for that. But I'm not surprised that they were able to find charges on him.

PAUL: What is your reaction to the attorney there saying all of these girls are lying?

VAN ALLEN: I can't speak out for everyone else. But I know I'm not lying, so for him to say everyone's lying, is a lie.

[07:05:08] BLACKWELL: Tamra, why now? Because you were here just last week after the discovery of the tape, the latest tape, these allegations have been around for decades literally. Why do you think the documentary got such a huge audience that now there are these new charges, that the Mute R. Kelly movement is viable? Why now?

TAMRA SIMMONS, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "SURVIVING R. KELLY": I just think now with society printed out there in public, you can't ignore it, but before, they could turn a blind eye, but now they can't. I think there's too much in your face. And I think that they're going back now and saying did we miss something then that occurred. And we could see in the documentary how there are so many facts laid out from the early 90s, up until now.

And it's like, that happened 30 years ago, it's still happening now. Are we as a society going to continue to allow this to happen for 30 more years, and either more, you know, allegations come out later and then, you know, talk to the victims at that time but we could have stopped it at this time in 2019?

PAUL: Lisa, you said that you would come out about this in 2008.

VAN ALLEN: Yes.

PAUL: And that nobody heard you. You said, you always have been told that you don't talk about that, you don't tell our business. Who was giving you that directive?

VAN ALLEN: I mean, no one specifically, but in the minority community, the black community, you know, we just -- you know, you just always kind of knew it was like an unspoken code that you don't really tell on each other. (END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: And we'll have more on that throughout the morning as well. Meanwhile, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft facing charges of soliciting prostitution at day spa in Florida. He's among more than a hundred people caught in state-wide traffic crackdown. This began late last year, by the way. Charges are unexpected to filed Monday, that's according to the state attorney's office. CNN National Correspondent Jason Carroll has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Robert Kraft through a spokesman is denying the allegations but police in Jupiter, Florida, say they have the proof and they say part of it is on camera. The investigation to allegations of sex trafficking took place over months. And involves several law enforcement agencies including the Department of Homeland Security.

The focus, the orchids of Asia Day Spa -- it's located in strip mall down there in Jupiter, Florida. Police raided it and charged it 25 men identified as Johns, for taking part in illegal activity there. Investigators say, they have videos that allegedly show Kraft engaged in with a characterized as "paid acts." They do not allowed rate beyond that. They say Kraft visited the spa on two occasions. Police charged him with two counts of soliciting another for prostitution, a misdemeanor.

A spokesman for the 77-year-old releasing this statement saying: "We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity, because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further. In addition to being the owner of the New England Patriots, Kraft is a friend of the president. He's a frequent visitor to Mar-a-Lago. Trump calling the situation very, very sad. Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: Campus police at the University of California-Berkeley, say they've identified a man seen on video attacking a conservative activist.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(VIDEO OF A MAN ATTACKING A CONSERVATIVE ACTIVIST)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Hayden Williams was invited to campus to help recruit students for Turning Point USA, a group that helps train conservative leaders. On Friday, campus police said in a statement that it has identified, rather, a suspect who is not a student, but did not release his name. Williams told Fox News earlier that this week, students were upset at a sign he posted reading: hate crime hoaxes hurt real victims. A reference to the latest Jussie Smollett scandal. Williams says, he is fine and was treated at scene. U.C. Berkeley's chancellor called the attack reprehensible.

Breaking news. A powerful allegation out of Rome. A top cardinal says, documents that may have contained proof of abuse in the Catholic church were destroyed. That's next.

[07:09:49] PAUL: And listen, we want to get you some of the newest images we're getting outside of Venezuela this morning. Tensions are so high, there's a political crisis, of course, preventing humanitarian aid from coming into the country. What you're seeing there are some national guard troops in Venezuela, as they block the border with Colombia. We'll take you there. Stay close.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: We have breaking news this hour. According to our top Catholic cardinal in Munich, files that may have contained proof of abuse in the Catholic church may have been intentionally destroyed.

BLACKWELL: Let's go now to Rosa Flores who is in Rome. Rosa, how did we learn this? And tell us more about it.

ROSA FLORES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Victor and Christi, this is really a bombshell revelation, because we have heard this from survivors for decades, the fact that the church had destroyed files, that they have these secret files. Well, a cardinal today, this is day three of a historic summit on clergy sex abuse here at the Vatican, he mentioned it in a speech. You know, he started off by talking about transparency because the theme for today is transparency, and he said that transparency is not what damages the church. It is the abuse. The lack of transparency, and the cover-up that damages the church. And then he went on to say that, indeed, the church had destroyed records. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[07:15:22] REINHARD MARX, ARCHBISHOP OF MUNICH, GERMANY: (INAUDIBLE) could have documented the terrible deeds and named those responsible were destroyed. Or not even graded. The stipulated procedures and processes while the prosecution of the offenses was deliberately not complied with, but instead, cancelled, overridden.

DENISE BUCHANEN, SURVIVOR: I hope that makes a difference. I hope they actually see that one, if one of them stands up and says, look, we need to do something here about this. And he's saying there were destroyed documents so the rest of them will take that as a cue to say we need to end this thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FLORES: Now, one of the things that I'm very curious about is, are civil authorities listening to what is happening at the Vatican right now? Because we know that there are multiple investigations that are similar investigations. Not just in the United States, but Chile and other countries across the world. In the United States, specifically, we know of at least a dozen investigations at the state level. There are investigations at the local level. We know of at least two federal probes, one in Pennsylvania, another

one in New York. And a lot of the survivors, Christi and Victor, that I've been talking to here in Rome, they tell me that they're trying to push for a full federal probe, so that they can have the full force of the U.S. Department of Justice on their side to investigate this. And now with this bombshell revelation of a cardinal actually admitting that destruction of records has occurred, they're very curious if this is going to have an impact. Victor and Christi.

PAUL: No doubt.

BLACKWELL: All right. Rosa Flores for us there in Rome. Rosa, thank you.

PAUL: Thank you, Rosa.

BLACKWELL: Next, Senator Dianne Feinstein, confronted by a group of children over the Green New Deal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Government is supposed to be for the people, by the people --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're the people who voted you. You're supposed to listen to us.

FEINSTEIN: How old are you? How old are you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm 16. I can't vote.

FEINSTEIN: Well, you didn't vote for me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, she --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It doesn't matter. We're the ones getting impacted.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:21:48] PAUL: 21 minutes past the hour. So glad to have you with us this morning, I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell good to be with you. President Trump is facing a new challenge to his national emergency declaration for more border wall funding.

PAUL: Yes, House Democrats are voting Tuesday on a resolution to block the president's executive order before he can get any extra money. I want to bring in CNN National Correspondent Kristen Holmes, she is at the White House. Kristen, what are you learning this morning and good morning to you?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Victor. Yep. Well, next week, we're going to see that legislative chat in action. So, let's talk about what exactly this looks like. Well, first, it will pass in the House -- we know that Democrats control the house, it already has 225 co-sponsors. But then, it's going to move on to the Senate, and that is where things are going to get interesting.

Now, of course, we know, President Trump has said if this resolution ends up on his desk, he will in fact veto it. But make no mistake, the White House does not want that to happen. It's embarrassing to the president if he has to vote against his entire party, if he has to go around them again, and go around Congress once again. And it's not confidence-inspiring to the American people.

So, that is where you see those Trump allies, those Trump Capitol Hill negotiators stepping in. And we have heard from sources that they're already trying to work some of those Republican senators, trying to convince them to get on board and vote against this resolution. This is going to put some of these Republican senators in an incredibly awkward position, especially those who are in vulnerable seats, running for re-election in 2020.

Susan Collins of Maine comes to mind. Cory Gardner of Colorado, among others. They're going to be forced to put on the record whether or not they are for the president's national emergency. And the way he used it. And they know that either way, either a yes vote or no vote, is going to have serious political ramifications. So, you're going to see this weighing very heavily on some of these lawmakers.

And I want to note one thing, there's been a lot of talk about how right after President Trump declared this national emergency, Republicans were coming out and saying that they were against it, that they didn't like it. But we do need to note here, that we have learned over his tenure, time and time again that even if Republicans say they don't like something the president is doing, they are against it, it doesn't mean that they'll necessarily vote against it. Christi.

BLACKWELL: All right. I'll take it, Kristen Holmes at the White House for us. Thanks so much.

PAUL: Well, Senator Dianne Feinstein got into bit of a heated discussion with the groups of kids who are representing the Sunshine Movement. The Susan Group of middle and high school-aged children. They met with the senator yesterday to request she back the Green New Deal. Now, the Sunrise Movement claims that these kids are "building an army of young people to make climate change an urgent priority across America." A video posted by that group shows the senator and the children talking about the Green New Deal. The senator argues, the policy won't pass the Senate, and she says, she doesn't agree with it. Listen to some of this exchange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are trying to ask you to vote yes on the Green New Deal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE FEINSTEIN: OK. I'll tell you what, we have our own Green New Deal piece of legislation. There are reasons why I can't, because there's no way to pay for it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, there it is.

[07:25:05] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have tons of money.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Government is supposed to be for the people and by the people and all for the people.

[07:25:10] FEINSTEIN: You know what's interesting about this group, is I've been doing this for 30 years. I know what I'm doing. You come in here, and you say it has to be my way or the highway. I don't respond to that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're the people who voted you. You're supposed to listen to us. That's your -- your job.

FEINSTEIN: How old are you? How old are you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm 16. I can't vote.

FEINSTEIN: Well, you didn't vote for me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, she --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It doesn't matter. We're the ones who are getting impacted.

FEINSTEIN: Well, you know better than I do. So, I think one day you should run for the Senate. I know you --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Senator Feinstein provided the group with an alternative climate resolution proposal saying she believes it has a better chance of passing. In a statement last night, the senator said this, in part: "Unfortunately, it was a brief meeting but I want the children to though they were heard loud and clear. I've been and remain committed to doing everything I can to enact real meaningful climate change legislation. I always welcome the opportunity to hear from Californians who feel passionately about this issue and it remains a top priority of mine."

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's talk, joining me now to discuss is Democratic Congressman Chris Pappas of New Hampshire. Congressman, good morning to you.

REP. CHRIS PAPPAS (D-NH), HOUSE VETERANS' AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: Good morning. Great to be with you.

BLACKWELL: So, you're a supporter of the Green New Deal. What do you think about this exchange? Was this the right way for this group to grow its support? Did they go after the right target? And what do you think of the senator's response? PAPPAS: Well, look, democracy is messy, right? But I think my

takeaway from this exchange is that it's incredible to see young people stepping and taking ownership over an incredible issue like this. This is an existential crisis. And these kids are going to be living with the impacts of climate change their entire lives. So, there's no time like now for them to step forward and have their voices heard. I think Dianne Feinstein has an incredible record of being a climate champion and being pro-environment.

And so, I think they were in some respects preaching to the choir and maybe talking past one another in this exchange. But, look, we've to make sure that we're having the types of conversations that can result in bold action. And it's long past the time for us to have arguments over science. We've got to actually see some things get done in this Congress. And that's why I'm going to support action that's going to advance this discussion.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's talk about something else that Democrats want to get done, and this is the resolution to block the president's national emergency. Speaker Pelosi says that the house will move forward with that on Tuesday. It will pass the house. What's your degree of confidence that some of those Republican senators who expressed disapproval of the president's taking a step to declare a national emergency will vote against this president? And get it to his desk.

PAPPAS: It's their responsibility to do so. They pledge an oath to the constitution, not to President Trump. And I think the constitution is very clear about the separation of powers, about the checks and balances and about the rights and responsibilities of the Article 1 branch of government, the legislative branch. And so, it's really important that we set up some bright lines for this president, some guard rails to ensure that he's following the constitution. I don't believe he is in this case.

I think it's a pretty clear-cut decision when he right down to it. We can't let politics get in the way of it. There are some real practical implications to this decision as well. You know, the president is threatening to use military construction dollars to divert them to pay for the wall that Congress has refused to pay for to date. That's goes to take away from projects from my district our ability to keep our military well prepared and ensure that we protect that national security of this country.

BLACKWELL: You were just at the (INAUDIBLE) naval shipyard, I understand, in (INAUDIBLE), right across the line in Maine there. It could lose $160 million. What would that mean, the loss of that money, real jobs, real people, to that facility, to that community?

PAPPAS: Well, it means we're not going to be maintaining our submarine fleet, so we're not going to be well-prepared for the national security interests, and our position around the world. But it also means that the 7,000 jobs that are tied up in that shipyard are going to be compromised. And so, there's an economic impact to that facility that's in the neighborhood of $1 billion annually in my district and in the region. And we've got to make sure that we protect the funding for the projects that have already been authorized and appropriated, so that they can go forward and keep this country safe.

BLACKWELL: You mentioned a member of veteran affairs and there are now two bills: the House, the Senate, bipartisan, that would allow for transgender members of the military to continue to serve. I know that your guest to the state of the union was a transgender veteran.

Do you expect the president, as we get closer to re-election, will make this a priority to appease his base? And what do you expect your success will be in allowing, or working to allow transgender members of the military to continue to serve?

[07:30:16] PAPPAS: It's disappointing the way the president is playing politics with our military. And he's banning a class of individuals from serving, who already are serving.

I mean, we have over a hundred thousand transgender veterans of our military. And I brought one to the State of the Union as my guest is a way to draw attention focus to this issue.

I think anyone who is fit to serve should be able to serve this country. And I think this transgender military service ban doesn't keep America any safer. In fact, it jeopardize -- jeopardizes our military preparedness and the safety of this country.

So, we've got to make sure that we promote genuine fairness in this country. That's why I'm a champion of the Equality Act in Congress. We need to make sure that we ban LGBTQ discrimination all across this country. We've also got to stop this transgender military service ban from going into effect, because it's the wrong decision, it's un- American.

BLACKWELL: All right, Representative Chris Pappas of New Hampshire. Thanks so much for being with us.

PAPPAS: Thank you.

PAUL: There quite the tensions this morning at Venezuela's borders. The National Guard -- take a look at what we're seeing this morning. They fired tear gas at workers who were trying to cross over from Colombia. We're going to show you more of what we're seeing and get a full report. Stay close.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:35:51] PAUL: What you're looking at here are new images that we're getting out of Venezuela this morning. You heard a teargas dispersing there. There were -- this is at the Tienditas border bridge along the border of Colombia and Venezuela, that's a vehicular and a pedestrian bridge that connects those two countries.

You can see the police line that they formed, they've got their shields raised as they're walking towards these workers. The workers were chanting we want to work before the tear gas was dispersed because that border has been closed. We're told then that men started throwing rocks at some of the guards, as well.

BLACKWELL: Yes, you saw the Venezuelan National Guard there, and there was a stable stand-off for some time before things descended into what you're seeing here.

Again, those Venezuelan workers were trying to cross into Colombia last night. The president, not recognized by the U.S., but Nicolas Maduro there, his government closed the border with Colombia. That's after closing the border with Brazil on Thursday.

The opposition leader Juan Guaido is in this face-off now with Maduro over aid which is waiting in each of those countries. At least two people were killed at the border with Brazil yesterday.

PAUL: CNN's Isa Soares is live from Caracas, Venezuela. So, today we know is the deadline for Guaido that he has set for aid to cross the border. What do we know about the movement of that aid, Isa?

ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Christi and Victor. Well, we know that the aid has been pre- positioned -- we know on the Brazilian side. The aid -- the U.S. aid, I may add has been pre-positioned on that side of the border hoping for it to move in.

We don't know what time that's going to move in or what the strategy is, given as your news, Victor said that border has been closed has, has the border with Colombia and Venezuela.

And so, the borders -- the 2,000-kilometer border, the Colombia- Venezuela border's extremely, extremely long border. But also, there are many other points of entry.

But as you've seen from that footage you just played out, the National Guard is there enforce by the orders of Nicolas Maduro. What we have heard is that the situation by Urena in that where you saw that teargas that's tense, but now it has calmed down. The people wanted to make their way into Colombia as they do in order to go for work in large numbers.

But -- and I heard them scream, they're saying, "We just want to go to work," but the guards not letting them through.

Meanwhile, what we have seen the last half an hour, is that three national guards from the Venezuelan side have actually abandoned the support for Nicolas Maduro and have asked from migration Colombia, the body on the Colombian side for help. So, they've moved sides already.

This is something that no doubt Juan Guaido will be hoping to see more of. He's been pleading for months on end now for a while now for the guards to switch sides and to stand on side of the people and to stand on the side of democracy.

It sure -- will be interesting to see what happens today here in Caracas is a real eerie sense of calm. Because people will be taking to the streets and they'll be walking, dressed in white with roses towards army barracks to try and tell the soldiers to switch sides. A lot riding on this not just for Nicolas Maduro who said this is not a humanitarian crisis, we are not beggars, we don't need that aid. So, if the aid dock does come in, Christi, in port, that he will look much, much weaker.

But, of course, if -- it's a lot of (INAUDIBLE) as well on Juan Guaido who was promised that the aid will be coming in. And if he doesn't complete that promise, there's a fear, of course, that he lose momentum on what we've seen until now. Victor, Christi?

PAUL: All right, Isa Soares, thank you so much for the update. Appreciate it.

[07:39:54] BLACKWELL: He was abused of -- the accused, rather, of abusing teenage girls while he was their basketball coach. But he got re-elected anyway, and by a large margin. But those girls are now women and they have something to say about it. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: When three women accused the Tennessee state representative of abusing them as teenagers while he was their high school basketball coach, there are a lot of people who assume that he would step down even his own party asked him to. But not only did he stay in office, he was reelected to a third term with 78 percent of the vote.

And one of his chief defenders is Tennessee's House Speaker who was secretly recorded talking about the abuse survivors. The women say they've been ostracized from their rural Tennessee communities for coming forward, and the House Speaker's response was, "If I was raped, I would move."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: Christi Rice, says that when she was a student at Wayne County High School in Southwest Tennessee, her basketball coach, David Byrd sexually assaulted her.

[07:45:01] CHRISTI RICE, ACCUSE DAVID BYRD OF SEXUAL ASSAULT: You know, you'd have to come into the office after ballgames. And, you know, we're supposed to be reviewing plays, reviewing the game, and it was touching, touching, touching.

BLACKWELL: Now, 30 years later, Coach Byrd is third term Tennessee State Representative Byrd. For years, Rice said that as long as she was the only victim, she planned to keep the alleged abuse a secret. But after she says, she heard from two other alleged victims, Rice confronted the Republican representative by phone and she secretly recorded this call last February.

REP. DAVID BYRD (R), TENNESSEE (via telephone): I have been so sorry. I mean for that. I mean -- I mean, I've lived with that and you don't know how, how hard it has been for me.

BLACKWELL: Byrd apologizes several times during the call, but he never says what it is that he's apologizing for.

BYRD: When we have communion at church every Sunday, and that something that -- I mean, I'm still -- you know, asking forgiveness for.

RICE: Did he actually say, I touched your breasts and I'm so sorry? No, he did not. But like I said, the entire content of the conversation, the18 minutes is all about sex and the effect that it did have on me and the other two that have come forward.

BLACKWELL: We reached out to Representative Byrd, several times. Even visited his Nashville office in Wayne County home to ask him about the accusations. There was no answer with either.

Rice and the two other accusers told their stories to local reporters last year. But despite their graphic claims and the recording of Byrd's apology, he was reelected in November by a 56 point margin.

And now, he's the new chair of the House Education Administration Subcommittee.

REP. GLEN CASADA (R), SPEAKER, TENNESSEE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Yes, and he'll do a good job.

BLACKWELL: That's Tennessee Republican House Speaker Glen Casada on the left. He supports Byrd in this video that filmmaker and former Democratic congressional candidate Justin Kanew, says he's secretly recorded in January. Kanew posted this tape this week.

CASADA: I don't think they're lying. I think they're believing something that's not true.

JUSTIN KANEW (D), FORMER CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE, TENNESSEE: If you listen to those tapes, there's nothing else that man could be talking about.

CASADA: And I disagree. I just disagree.

KANEW: But what are the other length? What's the other thing that he could have done that would have caused this?

CASADA: I don't know. I don't know.

BLACKWELL: However, when Kanew tells the Speaker, the women say they are being ostracized in their communities, and that's why they've stayed quiet for 30 years, the Speaker says --

CASADA: If I was rape, I would move and hell would hath no fury.

RICE: Where should we all move?

BLACKWELL: Speaker Casada would not speak with CNN on camera. But in a statement, he says in part, "If you actually listen to the context of the conversation, it is abundantly clear what was meant by my statement. If you have been raped or sexually assaulted in any way, you should absolutely move to hold those involved fully accountable for their actions."

Rice, says she's a Democrat but this is not about politics.

BLACKWELL: Do you think Representative Byrd should keep his chairmanship, should keep his seat in the Tennessee State House?

RICE: No. Personally, I don't think he should.

BLACKWELL: Victor Blackwell, CNN, Waynesboro, Tennessee.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: Well, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, telling the U.S. he doesn't want another missile crisis. But if the U.S. deployed medium- range nuclear weapons in Europe, he contends Russia will not hesitate to retaliate. CNN senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen has more for us here.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Vladimir Putin, ratcheting up the rhetoric against the U.S. The Russian leader saying if there was a nuclear standoff between Moscow and Washington, he wouldn't back down.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): This is no reason to escalate to the levels of the Cuban Missile Crisis of the 1960s, we do not want this. But if somebody else wants this, well, OK, go ahead. I have said what will happen then. Let them do their math.

PLEITGEN: A major factor in Putin's calculation, he's growing missile arsenal. Saying, if the U.S. deploys medium-range nukes in Europe, Russia will place new hypersonic missiles allegedly flying at nine times the speed of sound off the U.S. coast.

PUTIN: Nobody can prohibit warships and submarines from navigating in neutral waters. Plus, they will not be stationary, they will be on the go. Making it more difficult to detect them.

PLEITGEN: Despite his friendly relationship with President Trump, Vladimir Putin has vastly accelerated Russia's missile programs. A move he openly says gives Moscow the edge over America.

PUTIN: How long would it take to reach the decision-making centers that threatened us? The calculation is not in their favor. At least not today, this is obvious.

PLEITGEN: Russia, North Korea, and Iran. All American adversaries with limited defense budgets looking to neutralize American military dominance by developing long-range missile capabilities.

A former Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander telling CNN, the rockets are also used as bargaining chips.

HOSSEIN KANANI MOGHADDAM, FORMER COMMANDER, REVOLUTIONARY GUARD (through translator): One of our policies to counter the sanctions is to expand our missile program. This is exactly the path we are following. The more they increase the sanctions, the more we will boost our missile capabilities.

[07:50:11] PLEITGEN: Russia too, has had to cut military spending because of U.S. sanctions. But its missile program, Vladimir Putin, says continues to move forward full speed ahead. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: And still to come, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, facing charges of soliciting prostitution after being caught in a statewide sex trafficking sting in Florida. What is the NFL going to do now?

BLACKWELL: Plus, a look behind the curtain at the plans and tension inside the Trump 2020 campaign.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:55:07] PAUL: Well, new research is showing heart attacks are occurring more often in younger people and particularly in women. CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen explores why that is in today's "HEARTBEAT".

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The face of heart attack is changing in the U.S.

DR. HARMONY REYNOLDS, CARDIOLOGIST, NEW YORK: The higher percentage of heart attacks are occurring among young people, especially people under the age of 55. And is particularly true in women and more so in African American women.

COHEN: America's growing waistline boosts risk factors like cholesterol, hypertension, and diabetes for both men and women. Yet, research shows unequal medical treatments between the sexes.

REYNOLDS: Young women were less likely than young men to get some of these evidence-based life-saving medications. 13 percent less likely to get cholesterol-lowering. 17 percent less likely to get drugs that prevent blood clotting.

And this one sort of closes like a funnel.

COHEN: Research found half of young heart attack victims were unaware they were in danger.

REYNOLDS: It's very important for people to start asking their doctors. What their heart disease risk factors are.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: We have new details on the inner workings of the Trump reelection campaign including the president's eagerness to play a disruptive role in the Democratic nominating contest.

PAUL: CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny has the details for us.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: One presidential candidate is following the Democratic primary fight far closer than you might imagine. His name is Donald J. Trump.

TRUMP: Bernie Sanders is running out. That's right. Personally, I think you missed this time.

They'll say they know O'Rourke. That's his last name, right? O'Rourke?

I'm not impressed with their group.

ZELENY: The president is not only watching the Democratic race.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS: Let's do this praising.

ZELENY: Praising Kamala Harris's crowds and Amy Klobuchar's ability to connect with voter. He plans to play an active role in his opponent's primary. He's already working to brand Democrats as too extreme.

Seizing on Bernie Sanders announcement this week to fire up his own supporters.

TRUMP: America will never be a socialist country.

ZELENY: The president has directed his team to sow divisions among Democratic rivals, CNN has learned. And find opportunities to cause chaos from the left and right in the words of one advisor.

Never mind the first votes of the primary are nearly one year away. Trump is increasingly fixated on the race. Both in private conversations and in public.

TRUMP: I guess they're looking at 2020. They think, gee, we can hurt Trump. We'll have a better chance of winning an election.

ZELENY: One top Republican who talks to Trump frequently telling CNN, the president wants to get in the game. At the White House, he's holding regular meetings with a small circle of advisers. Led by his 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale. A power struggle has already emerged between the reelection campaign and those who helped him win the White House in 2016.

Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, two central figures in the first campaign were not invited to a meeting on Tuesday. With a wide-open Democratic contest where the ultimate nominee is literally a guessing game, the president and his advisors are trying to make the race anything but a referendum on him.

TRUMP: A radical left. It's a radical left. ZELENY: Yet, it's Democrats in the middle who worried Trump more. Former Vice President Joe Biden is at the top of that list.

TRUMP: He ran two or three times, he never got above one percent. And then, Obama came along and took him off the trash heap, and he became a vice president, and now he's probably leading.

ZELENY: So, the president certainly has his eye on Biden, one reason he believes he may be tough to beat in Pennsylvania or other states that went from blue to red. But I am told that the president does not necessarily have an opinion on who he should or shouldn't run against.

But one sentiment is unwavering. He does not plan to sit idly by and watch the Democratic primary, he intends to have a hand in it. Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: We got the latest pictures in here from Venezuela. These are images from this morning. The National Guard fired tear gas at a large group of workers in Venezuela, demanding to cross the border into Colombia. Nicolas Maduro closed that border last night.

PAUL: And the power struggle between Nicolas Maduro government and the opposition leader Juan Guaido, that's turning into a faceoff over aid. Specifically here, we know at least two people were killed at the border with Brazil yesterday. We're going to continue to watch this though as you see more tear gas being fired, there are tires that have been set fire too.

So, we're going to continue to watch what's happening. We will bring you the latest pictures as we continue to get them in.

ANNOUNCER: Significant developments after decades of women who have come forward and accused R. Kelly of sexual misconduct.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE GREENBERG, ATTORNEY FOR R. KELLY: I think all of the women are lying. Double jeopardy should bar that case and he won that case.